8 Best Shows You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books
We are currently living in the golden age of television. Television now has the power and the resources to attract the world’s greatest talents; for example, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidmanand Reese Witherspoon all starred in the second season of the critically acclaimed film big little lies. Given the money, star power, and wide reach of television, many of the world’s most famous authors are lining up to have their novels made into TV shows. Jack Reach is currently brawling in a small town on Amazon Prime, and HBO Max is preparing to release Dragon Housethe first one game of thrones spin off.
Unfortunately, however, audiences don’t always instantly recognize adaptations. With the ability to skip the intro with a single click, many fans enjoy shows without ever acknowledging the great works they are based on.
‘You’ – Caroline Kepnes
After three seasons and countless intensely chilling monologues, we all know the story of Joe Goldberg and his twisted search for true love. Penn Badgley’s The unsettling portrayal of the unhinged, book-loving sociopath has fans coming back no matter who pursues Joe, and his romantic conquest shows no signs of letting up any time soon with a fourth series on the way.
What fans may not know, however, is that Joe Goldberg first appeared on the pages of You, a fascinating novel written by Caroline Kepnes and published in 2014. There have also been two subsequent books in the series, with a fourth on the way, although the series is now less faithful to the source material than it originally was.
‘Gossip Girl’ – Cecily Von Ziegesar
Gossip Girl was a huge success. It managed to attract loyal fans who still come back to the series even now, make known names of its stars Blake Lively, Ed Westwickand Chace Crawfordand kick off a reboot series that was recently picked up for a second season.
Yet despite the series’ incredibly long runtime and unwavering popularity, few fans know about the novel that started it all. Gossip Girl began as a series of American young adult novels written by Cecily Von Ziegesar. Twelve books have been published as part of the series, which was named Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books For Young Adults in 2008.
“The Haunting of Hill House” – Shirley Jackson
Although it first landed on Netflix in 2018, the nightmares that followed watching The Haunting of Hill House show no signs of disappearing anytime soon. The series flashed between past and present, showing audiences an estranged family forced to come to terms with terrifying memories of their former home and the reasons they fled it.
Mike Flanagan created the series to prove that a horror series could work as both an engrossing family drama and a spooky haunted house story, and it pulled it off perfectly. Although Shirley Jackson also deserves its fair share of praise, as it was his chilling novel published in 1959 that gave Flanagan the groundwork to create one of the most chilling television series of recent times.
“Lisey’s Story” – Stephen King
As audiences around the world experience THIS, The Shawshank Redemptionand Carrienot everyone pays much attention to the horror king’s back catalog, Stephen King. Lisey’s story is deeply personal and connected to King’s life, which is probably why the author considers it his favorite of all his books written. The story follows Lisey, forced to outsmart a dangerous stalker obsessed with her late husband’s job.
Although it boasted a stellar cast, including Julianne Moore, Clive Owenand Dane DeHaanLisey’s story failed to capture the public imagination and never quite lived up to the novel.
“The Vampire Diaries” – LJ Smith
After dusk released in theaters in 2008, introducing the world to Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewartit’s fair to say that the world has become a bit obsessed with vampires. Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson picked up on this trend and quickly adapted by LJ Smith a young adult vampire fiction series into a hit television series The Vampire Diaries.
The show ran for eight seasons, allowing fans to fall in love with Elena (Nina Dobrev), Stephane (Paul Wesley), and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) again and again. Unfortunately, the series didn’t quite hold the landing, leaving some fans disappointed with the final season, but with thirteen books in the series, fans aren’t yet starving for fresh Vampire Diaries content.
“One of Us Is Lying” – Karen M. McManus
Who doesn’t love a murder mystery? The premise of one of us is lying is delightfully simple: five teenagers enter detention, but only four of them make it out alive. Thrillers are back in force this year, with At loggerheads should land on Netflix and Death on the Nile currently in theaters, and it’s no surprise that one of us is lying was successful enough to warrant a second season.
There are currently four novels in the series, all written by Karen M. McManus, meaning there’s plenty of source material left to fill in for a few more seasons. That is, until the audience solves the mystery first.
“Killing Eve” – Luke Jennings
The anticipation is high for Kill Eve fourth and final season, the British thriller adapted by the incredible Phoebe Waller Bridge. The series, which catapulted Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh to global stardom, follows the lives of an assassin and a security guard who become strangely linked in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Although the quality of the series has gone down a bit since Waller-Bridge stepped down as showrunner, fans have high hopes that the series will land successfully with its final season. And if not, we can always go back to the source, a series of novels written by Luke Jennings that somehow manage to be even more violent and twisted than the show itself. That takes time.
‘Bridgerton’ – Julia Quinn
Bridgerton blew fans away when it came to Netflix in 2020, earning incredible viewing stats and even better reviews. The series tells the story of the Bridgerton family, a powerful and wealthy family from the Regency era in England who must face the difficulties of love, lust and betrayal. Expectations are high for the second season, which released its first teaser last week, which will focus on Anthony and Kate’s complicated romance.
The books, written by Julia Quinn, all focus on a different member of the Bridgerton family and their quest for romance and the many complications that come with it. Luckily for fans, Quinn has published nine Bridgerton books, which means there are still plenty of Bridgerton family dramas ready to be adapted for the small screen.
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